Basketball Ireland Weekly Preview

In the latest round of Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague fixtures, Bord Gáis Neptune travel to Dublin to take on National Cup champions UCD Marian, while UCC Demons host 11890 Killester.

DCU Saints entertain Moycullen and UL Eagles take on Belfast Star in the UL Sports Complex.

Meanwhile, in the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, holders UL make the trip to the capital to face Oblate Dynamos, DCU face newcomers Ulster Rockets and Liffey Celtics have a daunting test against Team Montenotte Hotel.

Elsewhere, Singleton’s Super Valu Brunell have a date with Waterford Wildcats and Meteors take on 11890 Killester in an all capital affair.

Bord Gáis Neptune Head Coach, Mark Scannell, was delighted to get his managerial reign off to a winning start last weekend but he is expecting a stiff test against last season’s National Cup champions UCD Marian.

“UCD is a major contender this year and we won’t be getting carried away because of one victory,” said Neptune Head Coach Mark Scannell.

“I expect this to be an extremely tough away fixture and I wish it wasn’t so early in the season.”

“But if we want to be in a position to lift some silverware then we have to be prepared for these challenges.”

UCD Marian will attempt to return to form against the Cork giants after a disappointing seven point loss (68-61) to DCU Saints last weekend.

Marian will boast a full strength squad and Head Coach Fran Ryan is hopeful last week’s loss was only a blip.

“Last weekend’s score was definitely not what we set out to achieve,” said UCD Head Coach Fran Ryan.

“Neptune will be bringing their best team and this won’t be the time for excuses so we have to be ready for a battle.”

UCC Demons will look to build on their opening weekend win when they host 11890 Killester at Parochial Hall on Sunday.

Last weekend’s match up saw Demons’ American Shawn Atupem net an impressive 30 points and was supported by teammates Ciaran O’Sullivan and Niall O’Reilly who combined for 27 points respectively.

However, UCC Demons’ Head Coach Paul Kelleher is expecting a tougher test against reigning champions 11890 Killester.

“Killester have so much depth to their talent that we have to be constantly on guard,” said Kelleher.

“We have a bit of momentum that we want to hold on to and I don’t want to be the team that falls this early in the season to them.”

11890 Killester are coming off the back of a comfortable victory against Belfast Star who were still awaiting clearance for their American Tyson Johnson to play.

The National League champions will be wary of the experience Demons possess, particularly the likes of Niall Murphy and Carlton Cuff.

“We might not be as strong or deep as previous seasons but we still have some big names here and we will do everything to keep the silverware with us,” said Killester point guard Robbie Clarke,

“I expect players like Murphy and Cuff, who have the experience, will pose problems for us.”

DCU Saints will welcome back Eoin Darling to the roster as they prepare to meet Moycullen in the DCU Sports Centre.

The Saints will likely be without the services of Kevin Lacy due to work commitments and Head Coach Dave Donnelly thinks Darling’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We need to expect the scoring to come from everyone and not just a few choice people,” said Donnelly.

“With Eoin back I am hoping we can get more guys contributing across the board.”

Moycullen continues to struggle as they still search for a Head Coach to fill the position at the helm.

The Galway club will be looking for direction from their American Luke Enos to bear the scoring responsibility.

“This isn’t an ideal situation to be searching for a coach after the beginning of the season,” said Moycullen Guard Cian Nihill.

“At the moment we are reliant on our American Luke Enos but we all have to shoulder the responsibility and hopefully we can get some points on the board.”

The final meeting of the Nivea for Men’s SuperLeague will see UL Eagles search for their first league victory against Belfast Star at UL Arena.

The Limerick side will be awaiting confirmation of clearance for their American, Johnnie Jefferson in hopes of providing a boost.

Head Coach Mark Keenan expressed his disappointment in last weekend’s defeat to Neptune and his expectation of dramatic improvements for Saturday.

“I don’t think we did ourselves any justice last weekend and I expect to see a different team when they take the court on Sunday,” said Keenan.

“I know that we can play better than we did and with the addition of Jefferson I think that we will show a more positive side to UL Eagles.”

Belfast Star has joined the waiting game as they could possibly be missing their import, Tyson Johnson, for the second consecutive week.

Star will be expecting former Ulster Elk Paul Cummins to shoulder the scoring responsibility after he contributed 28 points in last weekend’s defeat to 11890 Killester.

In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, DCU Mercy are boosted by a full strength squad ahead to of their trip to Ulster Rockets.

The Rockets suffered disappointment on their first game in the top flight last weekend but will be encouraged by their 62 point haul.

“They lost last weekend but it shows what they are capable of when you consider they put 62 points on the board against a team like Killester last weekend,” said Mercy Head Coach Mark Ingle.

Oblate Dynamos will have to prepare without Aoife McGrath for their daunting test at home to the champions UL.

UL’s hopes of defending their title got off to an excellent start at home to Meteors. “Oblate always play tough, particularly at home and it will be a test,” said UL Head Coach James Weldon.

Newcomers Liffey Celtics will be without recent signing Orienta Kavaliuskaite for their daunting challenge at home to Team Montenotte Hotel

Kavaliuskaite suffered a knee injury in their defeat to Singleton Super Valu Brunell last weekend.

Fellow newcomers Singleton Super Valu Brunell will be looking for their second victory when they travel to Waterford Wildcats, while 11890 Killester are sweating over the fitness of Kate Gillen and Caroline Flynn ahead of their derby clash with Meteors.


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